Category Archives: M2M

Salesforce bolsters machine learning business with PredictionIO acquisition

AI-Artificial-Intelligence-Machine-Learning-Cognitive-ComputingOpen source machine learning software vendor PredictionIO has announced it is to become part of Salesforce. The Palo Alto start up has stressed that the software will continue to be available under an open source Apache license.

The addition of analytics and machine learning has become a key strategy to Salesforce as it bids to build on its cloud offerings. Last year BCN reported how Salesforce was adding new Wave Actions to its Analytics Cloud intelligence tool. More recently it bought machine learning companies RelateIQ and Tempo AI and integrated staff into its data science teams.

Machine learning, which can be used in many cloud applications, has become an area of contention in the cloud industry with other start ups in this area, such as H2O and Skytree, the subject of takeover rumours.

California based PredictionIO was formed in 2013 and a year later received $2.5 million in backing from investors including Azure Capital Partners. Other backers include CrunchFund, the Stanford-StartX Fund and Kima Ventures. Dropbox is PredictionIO’s most prominent client.

CEO Simon Chan explained the rationale for selling the firm on his company blog. As part of Salesforce, PredictionIO’s machine learning system will get immediate access to the entire Salesforce clouds. The opportunity to extend SalesforceIQ’s machine learning and intelligence was a chance not to be passed up, he said. “Being a part of Salesforce will give us an amazing opportunity to continue building our open source machine learning platform on a much larger scale,” said Chan.

Chan’s objective will be the same within Salesforce – to simplify development of machine learning technology and build it up. PredictionIO now has 8,000 developers creating over 400 apps. Chan pledged that PredictionIO’s open source technology will stay that way and will continue to be free to all users. To mark the Salesforce deal it is to dropping the PredictionIO Cluster software fee on AWS Cloudformation, which will is now free for the first time in the company’s history.

Wind River announces upgraded IoT software platform

internet of things farmingEmbedded tech vendor Wind River has announced an upgraded portfolio of IoT software development tools for the internet of things (IoT).

The wholly-owned Intel subsidiary made the announcement at the Embedded Linux Conference in Dublin this week, and claimed to bring added flexibility and interoperability to its open-source platform, Wind River Linux 8. It also says it’s thrown in improved user experience and scalability for addressing IoT, stating that a combination of its virtualization services also allows customers to begin developing apps for IoT platforms within minutes of set-up and installation.

Speaking on the development of the upgraded platform, which will underpin a number of Wind River’s existing technology profiles, general manager of OS platforms Dinyar Dastoor is proud of the work the firm’s doing in driving the development of IoT.

“Wind River Linux allows customers to extract vast amounts of business intelligence and value from their data, and supports devices of all sizes, architectures and industries – from general purpose and high-performing real-time devices to carrier grade, virtualization, and highly secure military applications,” he said. “With the latest version of Wind River Linux and our updated Open Virtualization profile, we are delivering a versatile and robust Linux offering to the market that is ideally suited for the development if IoT devices.”

Wind River’s Linux platform is born out of the Linux Foundation’s Yocto Project, a hardware-agnostic an open-source collaboration project designed to provide templates, tools and methodologies for implementing tailored Linux systems on any embedded product – hypothetically ideal for IoT products, software and infrastructures. Jim Zemlin, the Linux Foundation’s executive director, is looking forward to the company’s continued participation with the project, based on its extensive contribution thus far – Wind River has so far contributed more than one third of the lines of code used by Yocto.

“Wind River continues to do important work with the Linux community, as well as foster open-source innovation,” he said. “We look forward to the company’s ongoing contributions to the Yocto Project, and their market success with products like Wind River Linux.”

Visit Europe’s leading IoT event – Internet of Things World Europe – in Berlin on 5 – 7 October 2015

Salesforce IoT Cloud promises to create meaning from M2M talk

Internet of Things flat iconic illustrationSalesforce has launched its Internet of Things (IoT) offering with IoT Cloud, which promises to convert machine to machine conversations, digital content and customer information into useful intelligence that sales staff can act on.

The IoT Cloud is powered by event processing engine Salesforce Thunder, which will allow customers to personalise the way they sell, service and market. Development partners include processor maker ARM, Etherios, Informatica, PTC ThingWorx and Xively LogMeln.

The service was unveiled by Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff at the company’s Dreamforce conference in San Francisco. “Salesforce is turning the internet of things into the internet of customers,” said Benioff. The IoT Cloud will allow businesses to create instant one-to-one proactive actions for sales, service, marketing or any other business process, Benioff said.

According to Salesforce, its ‘massively scalable’ cloud computing architecture can ‘listen’ to the connected world and make sense of the billions of events each day from all sources. The connections with wearables, windmills, telephones and turbines – and all other devices – can be contextualized by Salesforce’s own real-time rules, it claims. The IoT Cloud aims to give business users intuitive, point-and-click tools to define rules and logic for events that can trigger actions among the users of Salesforce’s customer relationship systems.

The rationale is to glean information reported by devices – such as the numbers of hard braking movements by drivers of a car fleet – in order to monitor and manage customer cases. Machine intelligence, such as vehicle braking data, could help Salesforce users negotiate from a position of superior knowledge with their customers.

According to Salesforce’s figures there will be 75 billion devices connected to the Internet by 2020, with the volume of data growing exponentially each year. The McKinsey Global Institute estimates that IoT applications have the potential to make $11.1 trillion worth of economic impact per year by 2025.

The challenge is to make sense of all that data, said IoT market watcher Gary Barnett, chief analyst at Ovum. “IoT deployments only bring value when organisations can act on the information their IoT networks generate,” said Barnett, chief analyst, Ovum. “The ability to make sense of that data will be a key factor in turning it into action.”

Link Labs bags $5.7m to boost IoT network dev efforts

Link Labs scored $5.7m, which it will use to double down on product development

Link Labs scored $5.7m, which it will use to double down on product development

Internet of Things (IoT) networking specialist Link Labs has secured $5.7m in series A funding which the company said would be used to boost its low-power wide area network (LPWAN) expansion efforts.

The funding round was led by TCP Venture Capital, which included investment from the Maryland Venture Fund, Blu Venture investors, Inflection Point Partners, and individual and existing investors.

Link Labs specialises in developing IoT networking technology based on LoRa, a standard for IoT-centric wide area networks. Its wares are popular in the intelligent manufacturing, healthcare and smart metering sectors.

The company’s Symphony Link software and hardware connects a range of IP-connected devices over long ranges, both indoors and outdoors, over both licenced and unlicensed spectrum (915 MHz ISM band and ETSI­ compliant for use in the 868 MHz band in Europe and are capable of deployment from 137 MHz­1020 MHz).

“This round marks an important milestone for us as we shift from system development, to accelerated deployment with our early customers,” said Brian Ray, chief executive of Link Labs. “This gives us the capital to expand our distribution channel and open up additional international markets and new applications.”

Bob Proctor, founding member at Blu Venture Investors said: “Link Labs is quickly emerging as the leader in hardware and software systems for low-power, long-range communications. We were excited to provide the seed round for Link Labs last year and are proud to be a major part of the Series A round.”

Link Labs is one of a small but growing number of startups making inroads in the IoT networking space, where there is a flurry of activity around developing standards to handle the communications element.

LoRa, which is developed by Semtech, is being backed by IBM, Cisco, and Microchip among the members of the LoRa Alliance, but other include Sigfox (which is being backed by Samsung) and Neul (which is being backed by Huawei).

Intel, Wipro join IoT, M2M trade body to boost deployments

Intel and Wipro are joining the IMC

Intel and Wipro are joining the IMC

Intel and Wipro have this week joined the International M2M Council (IMC), a global trade association set up to represent Internet of Things vendors and service providers and boost volume IoT deployments.

The trade body, which does advocates on behalf of IoT vendors and service providers, claims to have over 10,000 members and is on track to grow by another 5,000 by the year’s end. In addition to Intel and Wipro companies on the IMC board of governors include Aeris, AT&T, Deutsche Telekom, Digi International, Inmarsat, Iridium, KORE, Nighthawk Controls, Numerex, ORBCOMM, Synapse Wireless, Telecom Italia, Telit, Verizon, and Wyless.

“The IMC’s focus on business results suits our role as a provider of end-to-end IoT solutions very well,” said Vijay Anand V.R., practice director, IoT Business, Wipro Digital, who has also joined the IMC Board

“This trade group also has a truly global footprint that fits our business model and aspirations.”

Rose Schooler, vice president of the IoT Strategy Office at Intel, who also sits on the IMC board of governors said: “The IMC is an industry-leading professional organisation that is reaching out to adopters of IoT technology on a broad scale. The organisation is gaining an average of 275 new members per week – members that are developing, buying, and deploying IoT solutions. Clearly, there is a demand in the market to learn more.”

Both Intel and Wipro have accelerated their IoT efforts over the past few months. Earlier this year enterprise vendor Software AG and outsourcing giant Wipro teamed up to offer a platform for streaming analytics generated by Internet of Things sensors and devices.

Intel has also ramped up its collaborations in the space, teaming with Fujitsu in May this year to develop Internet of Things solutions for manufacturing, retail and public sector clients.

Verizon, Qualcomm among Mcity partners testing IoT, automated cars

Verizon is teaming up with the University of Michigan to test connected and automated cars

Verizon is teaming up with the University of Michigan to test connected and automated cars

Verizon and Qualcomm are among 15 partners launching Mcity at the University of Michigan this week, a controlled testing environment for connected and automated vehicles that the project participants claim could clear the path for mass-market adoption of driverless cars.

The facility will allow researchers to simulate environments where connected and automated vehicles will be most challenged – for instance where road signs may be defaced by graffiti, or when traffic lights become faulty or break.

“There are many challenges ahead as automated vehicles are increasingly deployed on real roadways,” said Peter Sweatman, director of the University of Michigan Mobility Transformation Center. “Mcity is a safe, controlled, and realistic environment where we are going to figure out how the incredible potential of connected and automated vehicles can be realized quickly, efficiently and safely.”

Michigan – particularly the City of Detroit – has a longstanding (and to some extent troubled) history in automotive, but the University said the facility will help the State regain its leadership in the sector. The project builds on a 3,000 vehicle connected car project launched three years ago and co-funded by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation

As part of its participation with the project Verizon will be contributing its telematics technology, In-Drive, and is offering its own research into vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure technologies. It will also help explore various ways to combine mobility, telematics and IoT services.

Other project partners include Iteris, Navistar, Denso, Ford, General Motors, Qualcomm and Xerox; each partner is investing about $1m into the project over the next three years.

Amit Jain, director of corporate strategy, IoT verticals at Verizon said the project will help create new vendor-agnostic and OEM-agnostic services that could improve road and pedestrian safety.

“Placing the onus on OEMs only to deploy technologies such as Dedicated Short Range Communications (DSRC), for example, could take up to 37 years according to the National Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA). That’s why creating opportunities like Mcity to pool research and share best practices to expedite innovation is so important,” Jain said.

“Consider the fact that there are more than 30,000 fatalities in the US annually caused by vehicle accidents – of which 14 percent of those fatalities involve pedestrians. As part of our participation in Mcity, we will be involved in tailored research to explore how smart phones can be used to further enhance vehicle-to-pedestrian communications.”

Verizon has moved over the past few years to bolster its legacy M2M portfolio (industrial M2M, telematics) with the addition of new IoT services, which according to the telco now constitute a growing portion of its overall revenues – particularly connected cars. In a Q2 2015 earnings call with journalists and analysts this week Verizon’s chief financial officer Francis Shammo said that although IoT is still quite a nascent sector it raked in about $165m for the quarter and $320m year-to-date.

“As far as Internet of Things, we think that the transportation, healthcare, and energy industries in particular present great opportunities for us and we are very active fostering innovation in these areas,” Shammo said. “We are very well-positioned to capitalize on these new growth opportunities and we will continue to develop business models to monetize usage on our network and at the platform level.”

Four-fold cellular IoT connections predicted by 2019

PrintIT analyst firm 451 Research has forecasted the growth of cellular network-based connections for IoT-devices as anticipation surrounding the tech continues to grow. It also reckons wearable tech as a major enterprise tool will become reality in the next 12 months.

According to the firm, the telecoms industry can expect a nigh on four-fold boom in cellular IoT connections between 2014 and 2019, growing from 252 million to 908 million globally. The firm reckons such growth comes down to several key factors, primarily the ease of access to and reduced costs of hardware and broadband for enterprise customers. Secondly, the maturation of cloud, data management and analytics platforms means machine-generated data can be hosted and utilised quicker than in previous years.

Finally, 451 also attributes increasing M&A activity as a positive influence on the developing IoT market, with the ongoing vendor land-grab driving advancements in technology.

“We continue to be bullish that ultimately the hype of IoT will be proven to be warranted back on business impact,” said Brian Partridge, 451’s research VP. “Over the forecast period we expect that M2M/IoT solution suppliers will find fertile ground in vertical markets such as retail and government that will adopt IoT/M2M to enable strategic digitization strategies such as smart cities and the use of digital signage, mobile point of sale, and connected kiosks to drive the transformation from brick and mortar to ‘click and mortar’.”

Simultaneously, Harbor Research has revealed some numbers forecasting the profitability of IoT applications, claiming 80% of IoT apps will be generating revenue for users within the next three years. At present, its survey suggest, 65% of apps are money making.

451 Research also looked into the use of wearable tech in the enterprise, and said that 39% of the IT decision-makers it quizzed will be deploying wearable tech solutions in the next six months, with another 24% following within a year. Of those deploying in the next six months, 81% identified smart watches as their wearable tech of choice.

“The release of Apple Watch has opened the flood gates governing wearables’ adoption,” said Ryan Martin, who’s an IoT and wearable tech analyst at 451. “Not now that the river is running, it’s less about where it will end and more about where – and when – to start. We expect wearable technology to deliver a key interface and input into the Industrial Internet of Things”.

To go alongside its research, 451 produced this handy market map for the IoT ecosystem.

 IoT Market Map 451

Juniper: Connected cars to be 20% of car market by 2019

Jupiter Research says the connected car is the fastest growing segment of the M2M market

Jupiter Research says the connected car is the fastest growing segment of the M2M market

Analyst firm Juniper Research has forecast the connected car market to grow faster than any other M2M segment and to account for a fifth of total passenger car revenue by 2019.

As part of a broader report on M2M, Juniper compares connected cars favourably to other fast-growing segments such as healthcare and retail. The firm reckons the overall M2M market will generate service revenues of over $40bn globally by 2019, which is twice the current amount.

As well as cars, Juniper believes smart metering is set to boom, fuelled by state efficiency and green initiatives, but it won’t generate the kind of revenues cars will.

“Both India and China are expected to see rapid adoption of smart metering as new metering infrastructure is installed and smart cities are created,” said Juniper analyst Anthony Cox.

Other observations include an acknowledgement of the growing importance of M&A in creating companies with the range of products and competences to create and commercialise innovative M2M and IoT products. Western markets are currently leading the way in M2M, but China is unsurprisingly set to be increasingly prominent. Lastly Juniper stressed the importance of big data analytics in getting the best out of M2M.

Telstra, Komatsu sign $23m cloud, IoT deal

Komatsu is tapping Telstra for its cloud, comms and M2M strategy

Komatsu is tapping Telstra for its cloud, comms and M2M strategy

Telstra inked a deal with mining and construction equipment provider Komatsu to help the company deploy and manage its ICT and IoT strategy over the next three years.

The deal, valued at $23m, is an extension of a move in 2010 to on-board Komatsu’s applications onto Telstra’s cloud platform.

As part of the latest agreement Telstra will provide the core telecoms (voice, data and mobile) and ICT services (IoT and cloud infrastructure services) to Komatsu. The company said it is building on a recent M2M trial which it said enabled a ‘zero touch’ remote download of performance diagnostic data from more than 700 pieces of its equipment on mine sites.

The company said being able to access and analyse the data from inSite Centre in Sydney in real-time removed the need to take the equipment out of the field to download data, resulting in improved fleet and production efficiency.

“From the beginning of our cloud journey with Telstra, the focus has been on giving more time back to the business so we can innovate and adapt, and not worry about IT. This new agreement will be an extension of our collaborative relationship and will ensure we continue to lead our category within the mining sector,” said Ian Harvison, chief information officer at Komatsu.

“Telstra understands where we’ve come from and more importantly where we want to take our business, and we feel very confident that our technology and business is future proofed to allow us to compete in a continually evolving and competitive landscape.”

Sean Taylor, Komatsu Australia’s managing director and chief executive said: “We’re committed to business innovation and staying one step ahead of our customer’s needs – and it’s only through relationships with key partners like Telstra that this is possible. We’re excited about the next phase in our ICT strategy and look forward to many more years of innovation.”

Huawei’s details connected car partnerships with Audi, Volkswagen

Huawei is pushing forward with a number of connected car partnerships this week

Huawei is pushing forward with a number of connected car partnerships this week

Chinese networking giant Huawei is going big on the connected car market this week with the announcement of partnerships with German car makers Audi and Volkswagen, reports

This week’s news specifically concerns Volkswagen, with the demonstration at CES Asia of some MirrorLink-based technology that enables smartphones apps to be used on the vehicle-mounted systems. While this sort of thing has been around for a while, it seems that Huawei is facilitating the integration of MirrorLink technology in VW cars, all of which will feature it by next year.

“Our cooperation with Huawei will seamlessly blend the capabilities of users’ smartphones with the systems in their cars,” said Sven Patuschka, executive vice president for R&D of Volkswagen Group China. “All content on the phone will be shown in real time on the car’s infotainment touch screen. The result is smart and convenient interaction between phone and car.”

Earlier this week at the same show Huawei unveiled an R&D partnership with Audi, but this time focused on “interconnected car technology”, which seems to mean embedded modems.

“We see the unlimited opportunities available in the interconnected car market and we are excited about our partnership with Audi Group,” said Richard Yu, chief executive of Huawei Consumer Business Group. “By partnering with industry-leading automobile companies like Audi, Huawei aims to bring the best interconnection services and solutions to the next generation of cars, while actively promoting interaction between cars, smartphones, wearables and people, creating a seamless communication experience and driving environment.”

The connected car has long been viewed as the next major opportunity for the tech industry, but it has been slow to develop. One of the main reasons is the relatively long lead times in the automotive industry, which means bets have to be made on embedded technology standards that may be obsolete by the time the car comes to market. The answer, of course, is open standards, but as ever we have to wait for the proprietary land-grab to exhaust itself first.

Visit Connected Cars 15 to find out all about connected car business models and technologies.